In a season where rain in Southern California is as rare as Russell Westbrook having a triple double, the choice for MVP in the NBA is not so easy.
James Harden and Westbrook have both put up ridiculous numbers and led their respective teams to the playoffs. Both players averaged double-digit points and assists, with Westbrook averaging a triple double for the season.
Yes, you read that correctly. Averaged a triple double for the season. Something that has not been done since 1962 when the NBA had nine teams. Not to mention he also broke the record for most triple doubles in one season with 42. His final averages for the season were 31 points per game, 10.4 assists per game, and 10.7 rebounds per game.
Harden on the other hand would have had an outstanding season if this was like any other NBA season. An astonishing 22 triple doubles this season was second only behind Westbrook of course. Harden also led his team to an impressive third seed in the Western Conference and saw final averages of 29.1 points per game, 11.2 assists per game, and 8.1 rebounds per game.
But when it is all said and done, the MVP of the NBA might not be an obvious choice.
The heart says Westbrook. 42 triple doubles speaks for itself, but taking a season high 24 shots per game and averaging 5.4 turnovers a game is not impressive.
The mind says Harden. 55 wins in a tough conference and a career year all over the board is impressive, but 18 shots a game and 5.7 turnovers speak for themselves.
The requirements for becoming an NBA MVP are quite simple. According to nba.com, the MVP is awarded to the best performing player of the regular season. This is often not the rule the NBA follows when choosing the MVP.
Flashback to 2006, when Steve Nash was chosen as the MVP and basketball fans around the world were shocked. How could the NBA have awarded Nash the MVP over Kobe Bryant? May I remind you Bryant scored 81 points in a game and led a mediocre Los Angeles Lakers team to the playoffs as a seventh seed in the Western Conference in 2006. The highest accomplishment of Nash that season was the second seed in the Western Conference and the fourth best record in the NBA.
Nash finished the season averaging 18.8 points per game and 10.5 assists per game, while Bryant averaged 35.4 points per game and 4.5 assists per game. Bryant evidently deserved the award based on statistics, but the seventh seed in the Western Conference took a toll on his chances. Bryant, similar to Westbrook this year, was clearly the best performing player of the regular season. But, Harden and Nash also have something in common.
Both players have been coached by the great Mike D’Antoni.
D’Antoni, the man credited for teams with power forwards becoming lethal three-point shooters and playing absolutely no defense. Harden and Nash both thrived under the high-powered offensive system of D’Antoni. Westbrook and Bryant are in similar positions themselves, dealing with the loss of a superstar and putting up ridiculous numbers.
Westbrook, like Bryant in 2006, should be the MVP this year. But do not be fooled. The NBA will not be afraid to award Harden with the MVP award. Now do not get me wrong, Harden does deserve the award but how can you not give it to Westbrook? No one has ever came close to the type of season he had this year. Not even Oscar Robertson in 1962.
Pick your poison. Westbrook or Harden. The NBA’s choice will surprise us one way or another, but Westbrook is the clear choice.